Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Fall Foliage and Fungi at Moreau

Seems like it's been a while since we saw the sun.  Rain again today, but just a little, and only off and on.  Remembering my Mom's admonition from many years ago -- "You've got a raincoat.  Go out and play!" -- I donned my Goretex and headed out.  Maybe our autumn color had developed a bit more by now.  Mud Pond at Moreau Lake State Park seemed like a good destination, and to get there I drove over Mt. McGregor and along Spier Falls Road where it runs close to the Hudson River. Here was my first view of the river.  Made me mighty glad I decided to come out today.

When I got to Mud Pond, I was disappointed to see that the foliage on the mountains surrounding the pond was still rather drab, but the sapling Red Maples that line the trail were beautifully colorful.

And the seedling Red Maples were knock-your-eye-out vivid!

I next drove around to enter Moreau Lake State Park by the main entrance,  stopping along the eastern shore of the lake to admire this colorful mountainside reflected in the still water.

I parked my car at the swimming beach and headed over the bridge toward the trail that would take me around the back bay. The Red Maples here were definitely coming into their glory.

I love this wooded trail that divides the main part of the lake from the back bay, especially in autumn, when yellow and ruddy leaves shed a golden light among the dark green pines.

Out on the sandy beach at the north end of Moreau Lake, the Black Huckleberry shrubs have begun their autumn spectacle.  A deep burgundy red now, the leaves should develop their brilliant scarlet color in the weeks to come.

I was glad to see that some Sassafras saplings still held their multicolor leaves.

Can there be any purer yellow than of Striped Maple leaves in autumn?

Standing beneath a low-hanging Red Maple bough, I felt as if I were looking through stained glass.

Is green one of autumn's colors?  Sure it is, when it's the evergreen leaves of Striped Wintergreen.

Heading back to my car, I took the road that runs through the woods, where I found a number of fascinating fungi. This jumbled mass is the fungus called Jelly Leaf (Tremella foliaceae).

I don't know of a common name for these slender greenish miniatures that grow at the base of conifers. The scientific name is Mycena epipterygia var. lignicola.

We have many different look-alike fungi that grow on dead wood, and I had to post this one's photo on a Mushroom ID site before I learned its name is Plicatauropsis crispa, also known as the Crimped Gill Fungus.

If you turn the Crimped Gill Fungus over, you can see how it got that common name.

Here's another fan-shaped, zonally striped fungus that grows on dead wood.  Although it has achieved a brownish color by this late in the season, its name is Violet Tooth (Trichaptum biforme).  When it first develops, it is edged with a distinctly purple tinge, which fades as the fungus matures.

When I turn this Violet Tooth fungus over, I can see the teeth that suggested that part of its common name.

I had to go back to that Mushroom ID site to try to learn the name of these overlapping caramel-colored discs.  The most likely suggestion was Panellus stipticus, or the Luminous Panellus, so called because that species will glow in the dark.  Darn it all!  Now I wish I had brought some home, so I could put it in a closet and see if it glowed with a greenish light.  That would clinch the ID.

This was such a plain mushroom when viewed from above, but look what a beauty it is when viewed from the underside, with those radiating gills.

I'm not sure if this chunky bracket polypore is covered with raindrops (it was raining a bit now), or if it was exuding drops of its own moisture, as some fungi are known to do, especially those of the Fomitopsis genus, which I think this may be.  I just thought it looked quite interesting, protruding from the bark of a tree and dripping with crystal drops, next to some evergreen leaves of Pipsissewa.

These brownish balls are not really a fungus, although organisms like this one are usually included in mushroom guides.  This is instead a slime mold called Wolf's Milk (Lycogala epidendrum).  When fresh, it's colored bubblegum pink, but now it has faded to gray-brown as it ages and prepares to release its spores.

Here's the last fungus I found today, this salmon-pink, rather gelatinous growth I found spreading across a debarked log on the forest floor.  It's called Phlebia tremellosa, with the common name of Wrinkled Crust.  Apparently, according to what I have read, this is a commonly occurring wood-rotting fungus, although I have never come across it before.

This puckered piece of it (about an inch across) displays the wrinkled surface in which the wrinkles radiate outward from a central location. The spores develop on the surface of the wrinkles. The folded-over top edges that are evident in this colony are a distinguishing feature of this species of Phlebia.

I broke off a piece of the folded-over flap to examine it more closely, and I discovered this marvelously interwoven structure.  Once again, I never know what I will find in nature, until I take a look.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing

Tico Vogt said...

I love that name: Pipsissewa.

Woody Meristem said...

Great post, you've got the fall colors that are missing here as most of the leaves merely turn brown and fall. Good fungi photos as well.

Lutya said...

Can you share the mushroom ID website?

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Thanks for your comments, dear friends. I sure like knowing you come along with me on my nature adventures. The mushroom site that Lutya asked about is called "Lichens, Mosses, Ferns, and Fungi," and it is on Facebook.